Tuesday, March 18, 2008


all i can say is amen! Cynthia McKinney said it so well. read. think about it. what are our politicians up to...really? or are we just happy to see black skin?


Cynthia McKinney
A Discussion of Race Worth Having
March 18, 2008

Much has been made around the edges of this campaign about the issue of race. Sadly, nothing has been made of the public policy exigencies that arise because of the urgent racial disparities that continue to exist in our country. Just last week, the United Nations criticized the United States, again, for its failure to address the issues arising from the rights, particularly the right of return, of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors. Author Bill Quigley writes in "The Cleansing of New Orleans," that half of the working poor, elderly, and disabled of New Orleans have not been able to return. Two weeks ago, United Nations experts on housing and minority rights called for an immediate end of public housing demolitions in New Orleans. Now, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, ratified by the U.S. in 1994, further observes that the U.S. must do more to protect and support the African American community. In 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Commission "noted its concern that while African Americans constitute just 12% of the population, they represent 50% of homeless people, and the government is required to take 'adequate and adequately implemented' measures to remedy this human rights violation." In short, the United Nations has issued reports squarely calling for the United States to do more to eliminate racial discrimination— and this discrimination is a human rights violation.

I am deeply offended that in the middle of a Presidential campaign, remarks--be they from a pastor or a communications mogul, or a former Vice Presidential nominee--are the cause of a focus on race, and not the deep racial disparities that communities are forced to endure on a daily basis in this country.

Myriad reports and studies that have been done all come up with the same basic conclusion: in order to resolve deep and persisting racial disparities in this country, a public policy initiative is urgently needed. A real discussion of race, in the context of a Presidential election, ought to include a discussion of the various public policy initiatives offered by the various candidates to eliminate all forms and vestiges of racial discrimination, including the racial disparities that cloud the hopes, dreams, and futures of millions of Americans.

For example, every year on the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. United for a Fair Economy publishes a study of the true state of people of color in America called the "State of the Dream Report." And it was their 2004 report that noted that without public policy intervention, it would take 1,664 years to close the racial gap in home ownership in this country. And that on some indices, for example, infant mortality, the racial disparities were worse at the time of the report than at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In their 2005 report, entitled, "Disowned," United for a Fair Economy explored the disparate impact of Bush's "Ownership Society" economic program that saw Black and Latino lives shattered as unemployment, income, home ownership, business ownership, and stock ownership plummeted even in the face of Administration economists trumpeting the phenomenal "growth" of the U.S. economy as a result of their policies.

In 2006, United for a Fair Economy focused on the devastating and embarrassing effect of government inaction before, during, and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They focused on something as simple as car ownership and the relationship between vehicle ownership and race. In the case of New Orleans, car ownership literally meant the difference between losing or saving one's life.

In 2007, United for a Fair Economy explored the Black voters' attachment to the Democratic Party, and in a piece entitled, "Voting Blue, but Staying in the Red," they explored goals that the Democratic Party should have put at the top of its agenda for its first 100 hours in the majority. While noting that the Democrats didn't even mention Katrina in their agenda, United for a Fair Economy concluded that Blacks and Latinos voted in the November 2006 elections in the blue, but due to a failure of public policy that pays attention to their needs, they continue to live in the red.

In their 2008 report, United for a Fair Economy explores the sub-prime mortgage crisis and note that the largest loss of wealth in U.S. history is being experienced by the Black and Latino communities with an estimated $92 billion being lost by Blacks and an estimated $98 billion being lost by Latinos. And while families are losing their life savings and the only major investment that they own, policy makers are asking them to tighten their belts. But the predator banks' CEOs are walking away with record remuneration. And our policy makers are notable for their inaction: first on the predatory lending that disproportionately affects Blacks and Latinos, and then on offering relief so that homeowners remain homeowners, including in the midst of this crisis.

Sadly, United for a Fair Economy isn't the only research organization to find glaring and intolerable disparities in our society by race and no appropriate public policies enacted to address them. Hull House did a study that found that it would take 200 years to close the gap in the quality of life experienced by black Chicagoans and white Chicagoans. There has been no public policy initiative taken up by the mayor or the governor of Illinois to begin closing that gap.

Several years ago, the New York Times published a finding that nearly half the men between the ages of 16 and 64 in New York City were unemployed. There was no initiative by the mayor or the governor of New York to begin addressing such pain.

Every year, the National Urban League publishes a study, "The State of Black America," in which the ills and disparities that persist in this country are catalogued. Every year, the story is basically the same. The United States has a way to go that only public policy can address. However, when Harvard University/The Kaiser Family Foundation did a study on White attitudes about race several years ago, it found that Whites have little appreciation for the reality of Black life in America, from police harassment and intimidation, to imprisonment, to family income, unemployment, housing, and health care. But without an appreciation of the reality faced by many of our fellow Americans, the necessary public policy initiatives to change those realities will find difficulty gaining acceptance in the public discourse.

Additionally, compounding the problem, there is little public discourse because the corporate press refuse to cover the deep implications of the results of all these studies. I am convinced that if the American people knew the truth of the conditions, change would surely follow. I believe that to be the case because of the impact of the images of "Bloody Sunday" on the passage of the Voting Rights Act. I believe that to be the case because of the impact of the images of the Vietnam War on the turn of the tide of public opinion against that War.

This moment sheds light on a much-needed discussion: on race and the legacies of race and slavery and the continuing problems associated with our failure to treat racism as a curable American disease.

I am glad that candidate Obama mentioned the existing racial disparities in education, income, wealth, jobs, government services, imprisonment, and opportunity. Now it is time to address the public policies necessary to resolve these disparities. Now it is time to have the discussion on how we are going to come together and put policies in effect that will provide real hope and real opportunity to all in this country.

To narrow the gap between the ideals of our founding fathers and the realities faced by too many in our country today: That must be the role of public policy at this critical moment in our country today.

I welcome a real discussion of race in this country and a resolve to end the long-standing disparities that continue to spoil the greatness of our country. I welcome a real discussion of all the issues that face our country today and the real public policy options that exist to resolve them. That must be the measure of this campaign season. For many voters, this important discussion has been too vague or completely non-existent. Now is the time to talk about the concrete measures that will move our country forward: on race, war, climate change, the economy, health care, and education. Our votes and our political engagement must be about ensuring that fairness truly for all is embodied in "liberty and justice for all."


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see how President Obama would deal with the disparities in health care, wealth, education, etc.. Can he stand the heat; cuch policies are bound to bring accusations of preferences, reverse racims, quotas, etc.. Does he have the stomach to endure this criticism. It's sure to come.

Khadija said...

*Full saracasm mode*

Only "1,664 years to close the racial gap in home ownership."

And only "200 years to close the gap in the quality of life experienced by Black Chicagoans and White Chicagoans."

I dare say that Sister McKinney is failing to acknowledge all the progress that we've made. Tsk. Tsk.

And as Our "Messiah" Hypnobama said of his errant pastor, Sister McKinney has "expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country..." A view "that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America..."

God willing, she will leave this distorted path and enter the true understanding of events. We must pray for our misguided Sister McKinney.

*Sarcasm mode off*

I have nothing to add; she said it all so well. May God bless her for her steadfastness in supporting the truth!


focusedpurpose said...


i must confess, i feel tired.

it is not that hard to see. if folks want to be so sensitive. they cannot behave so insensitively and inhumanely. black folks need to wake up.


hi, i don't expect that Obama is getting ready to do too much of anything. all signs indicate that he is on a different trip. we are not invited. i feel a bad joke coming on. i wish i were wrong and felt differently. it all makes me tired.

that is today. i will get up tomorrow God willing, and go back to doing what i do. powerfully.

still, the happy slaves make me tired. really really really.

blessings to you both!

focusedpurpose said...

wasn't she running for president?

ok. now i am being sarcastic.

Khadija said...


I know how you feel. Although, curiously, I've been energized by the spectacle of the happy slaves cavorting in response to Hypnobama's speech. In fact, it's been almost comical to me.

The conversation I had with a relative last night [who has quaffed the Obama kool-aid] was similar to the exchanges I had with others last night on Black Women Vote.

As I did on Black Women Vote, I brought up the points that I noted Hypnobama accomplished with his speech---primarily pandering to White folks' fears & self-deceptions, telling lies about the origin of at least 1 foreign policy problem, and drawing a moral equivalence between the Black victims of racism & their victimizers. And again, I did this with quotes from his speech.

The response was the same---stunned silence. No real attempt to point-by-point dispute the truth of what I was saying. [Which would be kind of difficult because what I said was true.] Just stunned silence to encounter somebody that wasn't swept up into cheering for "our" boy.

I also reminded this relative that I had given her similar warnings about Bill Clinton years ago. She had previously loved her some Bill Clinton, like so many other Black folks. Now she has turned on Billary in fury in response to their swipes against "our" boy.

Sister, be thankful that you haven't been poisoned by the kool-aid. When I watch the happy slaves cavorting, I feel sooo thankful that's not me this time.

I also use this episode as a "spot check" to accurately measure where our people are. As Mr. Villard & others noted long ago, we are a CHILD-LIKE people. I also can see now that we desperately want the "lullaby"---even when we intellectually know better [like some of the commenters at BWV].

As you reminded me earlier, it took centuries to get us to this mindset. It might take a very long time for us to grow up as a people.

Meanwhile, we persist in our work!And rejoice in the fact that we have the clear minds & [at least for now] freedom with which to do our work.

*Sorry for any accidental multiple postings*

Peace, blessings. love & solidarity!

Anonymous said...

I don't expect much from him in this area. I read part of his speech where he warned African Americans not to become "victims" of our history. What does that mean?

Anonymous said...


You and Khadija are only 2 of very few blacks who are not "taken" by the oratory skills and eloquence of the O-man. He is indeed talented.

I have a feeling though, that the 90%+ black voters who have majorly contributed to his primary race victories will not benefit should he become POTUS.

focusedpurpose said...

hi Aya, welcome!

everyone, i woke up this morning thinking to myself that it isn't that complicated. Obama is behaving like a good mulatto; talking out of the black side and the white side of his mouth simultaneously---saying nothing. most black folks are behaving like white folks'children, as usual.

it has all been done before.

he definitely has the audacity of hope to think that he will be able to get up and discuss race without discussing the human rights violations america commits on the regular, non-stop, all day.

i called it before the speech. the speech only corroborated it.

black folks need to wake up, stand up and go into action.

i am not taken with obama and his slick smooth vague talk. i am accustomed to men of color doing that well:-) it is what they actually consistently do that tells the whole story...all people in fact...i have learned to look for the behavior.

Khadija- thank you for your encouragement. i was just so offended by a host of things yesterday. i have a bad temper that i am always standing on and disciplining down. that clown's speech was a huge cherry on top.

did i say, black folks need to wake up?

going hiking now:-)

blessings to you all,

Khadija said...


Greetings! It's always good to have another person around who has declined the "kool aid"! I shake my head as I reflect on the fact that many of the same Black folks that are enraptured by Hypnobama loved, loved, LOVED Bill Clinton just a few years ago. And we see how that political love affair has worked out for them.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Cynthia McKinney is running for President. Please check out her campaign website at:

She needs our financial contributions, our time, skills and energy, our political activism, networks and relationships, as well as our votes in the Green Party nominating process and in November.

Take a look at the Pentagon Speech she gave last year, when she declared her independence from the Democratic Leadership, or her campaign Announcement released this past December.

focusedpurpose said...

hi Anonymous-


i said:

"wasn't she running for president?

ok. now i am being sarcastic."

emphasis on sarcastic. i know full well this sister is running for president. i know full well why she is being shut down and out of the process.

thank you for keeping it real. my statement was made in busted disgusted sarcasm with the whole broken, corrupt system.

you are always welcome here:-)

blessings to you,

JaliliMaster said...

Khadija said...

Greetings! It's always good to have another person around who has declined the "kool aid"! I shake my head as I reflect on the fact that many of the same Black folks that are enraptured by Hypnobama loved, loved, LOVED Bill Clinton just a few years ago. And we see how that political love affair has worked out for them.


As much as I like Obama, I agree with the above comment. I really think alot of black folk are going to be in for a rude awakening. I don't like having to pick the lesser of two evils, and that is how I'm starting to feel with Obama and Clinton (Obama being the less evil).

focusedpurpose said...



"I really think alot of black folk are going to be in for a rude awakening. I don't like having to pick the lesser of two evils, and that is how I'm starting to feel with Obama and Clinton..."

amen! i will go even further and say that there are a lot of people of different colors all over the world that are in for a rude awakening.

america strives to be the superpower of the world at all costs. the only choice in the corrupt, broken political system has always been the lesser of two evils. it will that way until the re-building process starts.

unfortunately, i think that black people ---all over the world--- will be hit the hardest. as usual.

you are always welcome here.


Faith said...

I wonder if you've considered the possibility that Obama is aware of the institutional racism that is the root of much of the disparity. He's heard his own pastor talk about how Amerikkka has engaged in destroying other countries. I'm sure it wasn't something he didn't already know. He has addressed policy plans he'd like to put in place to begin fixing this and I'm certain he'll discuss it more. But why haven't more people demanded more from their elected officials? If Clinton or McCain win do you think they will an agenda to address this? Why all the focus on Obama? The other candidates haven't touche don any of this. HRC could have been discussing this in a real way instead of trying to hold his race against Obama. She could have tried to 'out-Black' him in a way and really tried to implement real structural support. I don't think she really cares enough about it. Which then brings me back to the one point that Obama made tat I think we can all agree with: we need to get past divisiveness if we want to see real change.

focusedpurpose said...

hi Faith-

welcome! thanks for stopping in. make yourself comfortable.

you said:

"we need to get past divisiveness if we want to see real change."

i can't agree with you more. if you read my thoughts you will see this is a running theme for me. one love. however, it must be rooted in truth. there is no place for any of the ism(s)---classism, racism, sexism, colorism, etc. in true one love. quite a few americans seem to love all of the "isms" more than their fellow man. no? when i look around i lean towards a resounding...yes. unfortunately:-(

so, i am not into politics at all when left to my own devices. my thing is the truth. i have reached the conclusion that politics and truth are mutually exclusive:-)

i have said repeatedly that the democrats and the republicans are different sides of the same coin. the system is broken and corrupt; has been for a very long time.

none of the candidates, in my opinion are really addressing any of the serious issues facing americans. none of them. they are all lying about the plan to continue world wide war-mongering---it is highly profitable, a part of the immediate plans, and it doesn't matter who is president. people are losing their homes in record numbers---no one has discussed the quiet bail outs of the same banks that profited from this racist scheme that has disproportionately impacted black and brown citizens. no one.

my concern is for black folks. most seem to think obama is this great savior that is here to save them. he is not. he is corporately sponsored and will be in the employ of the corporations that have given him hundreds of millions of dollars. which is why i continue to say follow the money trail...

i would discuss clinton and mccain, however, if one can't figure out how much a part of the problem they are---there is nothing i can say at this point to be of assistance. because obama is presenting himself under the umbrella of "change" challenging that is essential to me in the interest of black folks' preparedness and well being. we can not afford to allow ourselves to be taken heading into a major recession. no one is telling the truth about that either.

please be clear, my calling this out is not being "divisive". just as my mentioning white supremacy and racism is not "racist". those that made those rules seek to silence and control the masses. i am not interested in being either silenced nor controlled, so here i am.

this country was build on division and white supremacy. until that gets adequately addressed there can be no real progress. if obama had saved the old black guy and young white girl portion of his speech he might have been able to fit some unapologetic truth into that speech. i don't give mad props for someone finally talking about what should have been addressed long ago. i would give mad props had he done it with integrity and been uncompromised. as you can see, the patty cake did not pay off anyways.

i must say that real change will only come when people get...real. it is my sincere prayer that this will happen real soon.

i am not singling obama out. i am saying that all of the prominent candidates for president---there are others running that are being shut out, like cynthia mckinney---are corporate puppets. the best interest of the citizens of america (all colors) is not on the agenda. i wish it were different. i just can't find any information to suggest otherwise. if you have such information, please share:-)

ps. don't suggest i go to obama's website either. please:-) been there done that!

please know that you are always welcome here and i look forward to your next visit.

blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

Focused Purpose said: concern is for black folks. most seem to think obama is this great savior that is here to save them. he is not. he is corporately sponsored and will be in the employ of the corporations that have given him hundreds of millions of dollars. which is why i continue to say follow the money trail...

Follow the money trail...hmmm, this is what most do not wish to consider.

And I also say this; 90% of the black vote is very high for 1 candidate. How has that mass voting block worked in the past? Ahhhh, people have very short memory spans. Which is why the same frustrations are endlessly repeated. Which other voting block gives 90% of their power to 1 candidate?

focusedpurpose said...

good morning Aya-

welcome back.

you are onto something. if black folks would really look at, honor, respect and learn from past experiences---this would be a whole new oprah:-) immediately. instead we are the one group that vocally practices "forgetting" rapidly. it has never worked for us. i don't think this forgetful practice ever will work considering all things are cyclical.

the truth is so simple it is cliche, yet for some reason we refuse to get it. i think it is a collective lack of self love, self acceptance and self respect.

i have to continue to remind myself that this mess took hundreds of years to make. this allows me to remain undaunted, focused and purposeful. i pray we wake up soon. i will continue to speak truthfully (as unpopular as that can be) and let the chips fall where they may. it is my hope to wake people up. sleeping people are not in action; unless they are sleepwalking which is bad bad bad.

i really do believe that black folks can get it together. i am hopeful.

thanks for dropping in.